And it rained… is the title of my composition for the NOCO Artists Elemental Concert Series. (www.nocoartists.org) I was very excited when Scott Stewart (NOCO Artists Director) approached me about writing a piece. Contemporary chamber music is something I have a real passion for and I’m glad there is such a great group right here in Northern Colorado! I thought I’d share some of my compositional process in hopes it will inspire people to attend the premiere of the work.
The idea of representing the elements through music really appealed to me due to my background in arranging/composing for the pageantry arts (marching bands and indoor percussion ensembles). Writing for the pageantry arts always entails creating a musical landscape that portrays some sort of concept. So, writing a piece inspired by an element is right in my wheelhouse. The first concert is Fire and Water and I wrestled with these two ideas for quite a while. Water ended up generating the most ideas right off the bat.
One of the first things I do when working on a new piece is to “fill the well”. Meaning, I listen to a lot of music similar in style to what I’m working on. Or, sometimes something thats not related at all! Here are two pieces I was listening to while working on And it rained... If you like these links, please consider supporting the artists by purchasing their recordings!
In continuing to “fill the well”, I always make a list of ANYTHING that comes to mind in regards to the concept. (lots of crazy notebooks in my world) In this case, water in the form of rain became the idea that most resonated with me. Next in the process? More lists! I knew I wanted to use samples (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampling_(music) of spoken word in some way. I made lists of poems, movie quotes, lyrics etc. that related to rain. (Special thanks to Veronica Patterson for sending me some poems to check out!) I really wanted to use some sort of poem or quote but nothing was capturing my attention. Then it came to me. Are you ready? Romantic Comedies! More commonly known as, “chick flicks”. EVERY one of these films seems to have a scene containing rain, even if it takes place in the desert…kidding. However, Hollywood has done a great job teaching us what role rain has in these movies. I may have seen several of these movies…don’t judge. What can I say…I’m a hopeless romantic and the movie When Harry met Sally was my gateway drug. Plus, it had a killer soundtrack!
Check back soon for what happens after the well is full!
Follow me on twitter, instagram and Facebook with the hashtag, #NOCOELEMENTAL for more updates regarding my piece and the concert series. And…pay attention next time you watch a film with a rain scene!
Facebook: Shilo Stroman